EXIVIOUS — Exivious (review)

EXIVIOUS — Exivious album cover Album · 2009 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
tapfret
Fusion metal pinnacle Sub-genre: Progressive Metal For Fans of: Canvas Solaris, Allan Holdsworth, Return to Forever, Gordian Knot Vocal Style: None Guitar Style: Varied electric. Metal distortion but little in the way of "chugging". Use of swells for texture and plenty of clean tone. Keyboard Style: None that I am aware of. Percussion Style: Rock kit, occasional metal double-bass sound, never overbearing. Bass Style: Very tasty, warm fretless electric bass. Other Instruments: None You are not likely to enjoy this album if: you insist on vocals or are a genre purist of any sort.

Summary: The roots of Exivious are well documented. It is those roots that draw people to want to hear their self-titled debut album. But there is more - or perhaps less depending on context - to the band than what is implied by their roots. First and foremost is the fact that this is a 100% homegrown, do-it-yourself, self funded project. As we are well into the age that this is not only possible, but becoming the norm, we tend to find a lot of boiler plate production value that seems to limit the creative process. This is not the case with Exivious. While it is not hard to pick out derivative elements in this album, the presentation is wholly their own and finds a healthy niche in a genre that is now flooded with hybridization. The most simplistic description of style/genre would be fusion metal. I refrain from using the J word for fear of a purist attack, but jazz elements resound throughout the compositional structures, chord modulations and use of broad dynamics and textures. An instant injection of warmth of tone is provided by the use of fretless bass. The guitars, while unmistakably distorted at most times, are never content to ride power chords. Instead frequent tonal variations, key modulations and string ensemble-like volume swells provide a strong sense of contrast throughout the album. The use of these tools leaves the project not wonting of vocals. Exivious allows the music to tell the story completely. They use a seemingly simple device in a two-part intermission type song, "All That Surrounds", which ties the albums segments together and provides the cohesiveness of story. The first part gives a calming false resolution major chord sound that is unraveled by the more urgent "Waves of Thought" and "The Path", finally leaving the listener on an ethereal precipice with the minor and whole-tonal "All That surrounds, pt.2". The album again resolves with the upbeat "An Elusive Need". The album rounds out at forty four and a half minutes, a short album by today's standards, but containing not a moment of filler that permeates 21st century recordings. The sense of completeness as the album fades is to often missing in the majority of music in the last 20 years.

Final Score: I spent a good 18 months listening to this album trying to figure out if it was really the masterpiece I thought it was from the first listen. In fact, I am drawn more to this album as time passes. It has the perfect balance leaving the listener simultaneously sated, yet wanting more. No element completely dominates or submits. Tasteful and artistic. 5 stars.
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
5 months ago
A great slab of jazz metal for sure!

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